British philanthropist Sir Peter Moores established the Peter Moores Foundation in 1964, in order to develop his charitable aims, in music and the visual arts and in education, health, youth, social and environmental projects. Because of his initiatives and life-long commitment to these causes, he has disbursed many millions
'to get things done and to open doors'.
2013-2014/15, brings the Foundation's charitable activities to an end, as planned, and the Foundation will finally wind down in 2014, its fiftieth anniversary year.
Sir Peter Moores' philanthropic work began with his passion for opera: in his twenties he helped a number of young artists in the crucial, early stages of their careers, including the then relatively unknown Joan Sutherland and Colin Davis. Since establishing the Peter Moores Foundation, many more young singers have been supported through scholarships and bursaries, several achieving international recognition, including Barry Banks, Alice Coote, Simon Keenlyside, Mary Plazas, Amanda Roocroft and Toby Spence.
Projects to help the young have ranged from educational scholarships for young people from the Caribbean to undertake management studies in Britain, to a scheme to encourage young Afro-Caribbeans in the UK to 'stay on at school' for further education, to the endowment in 1991 of a Faculty Directorship and Chair of Management Studies at Oxford University, providing the first funding for undergraduate business studies at the University. This paved the way for the development of the Said Business School at Oxford and in September 2004 the Foundation announced its initiation of a new post at the School, the Peter Moores Lecturership in Chinese Business Studies. In 2010 the Foundation endowed a junior fellowship in Chinese Archeology at Merton College, Oxford.
The Foundation's work in Barbados dated from 1973, focusing on projects intended to benefit the island's social and cultural infrastructure. The Peter Moores Barbados Trust was formed in 1991 to support and develop this work and became an independent body in 2011.
Examples of the Foundation's diverse support include the funding of a bursary in fine art at the University of Ulster in Belfast, support for the Royal Yachting Association to build teams of young windsurfers, and encouraging the introduction of new initiatives with ChildLine for the prevention of child abuse. Substantial help was given to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Development Trust whilst annual PMF Scholarships established in 1971 provided hundreds of young singers with practical support at the outset of their careers, enabling a significant number to become international opera stars.
The Peter Moores biennial contemporary art exhibition held at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from 1971 to 1986, gained an international reputation. In 1994 a permanent Transatlantic Slave Trade Gallery, initiated by Sir Peter, opened at Liverpool's Merseyside Maritime Museum, with the aim of fostering discussion about the heritage and true history of the slave trade, a subject previously rarely confronted fully by white or black people. The overwhelming success of the original gallery led to the independent development of an International Slavery Museum which opened on the same site in August 2007.
In 1993 the Foundation acquired Compton Verney, an 18th century mansion in Warwickshire. Compton Verney House Trust, an independent charity funded by the Foundation was established to transform the dilapidated mansion into an art gallery of international standard, designed particularly to encourage newcomers to discover art in a welcoming environment. The gallery was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales in March 2004, and has since received many awards. Compton Verney offers a programme of major temporary exhibitions, a newly-built Learning Centre and houses six permanent collections created or acquired especially for the gallery. The collections, which continue to grow, comprise: works from the 'Golden' period of Neapolitan art, 1600-1800; late medieval German paintings and sculpture, 1450-1600; archaic bronzes and pottery from China, dating back to 8000 BC; British portraits and furniture from 1550-1750; British Folk Art (Andras Kalman's unique collection, acquired by the Foundation to prevent it being split up and sold abroad) and the Marx-Lambert Collection of folk art and designs bequeathed to Compton Verney by the graphic artist and textile designer, Enid Marx.
Prior to the opening of Compton Verney in 2004, it was opera that gave the Foundation its most public 'face'. Since Sir Peter banged on the doors of EMI in the early 1970s, wanting to capture 'live' the 'Goodall Ring' at the London Coliseum, the Foundation has enabled well over 100 recordings to be produced: Chandos Records' Opera in English series - 'Opera that speaks your language' - is now the largest recorded collection of operas sung in English translation whilst Opera Rara's recordings of rare
operas have opened up to the public an immensely rich repertory previously only accessible to scholars.
In live opera performance, the Foundation has encouraged the creation of new work and schemes to attract new audiences, financed the publication of scores, especially for world premieres of modern operas, and enabled rarely heard works to be staged by British opera companies and festivals. A film of Mozart's
The Magic Flute
, directed by Kenneth Branagh and initiated by Sir Peter to reach new audiences, received its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2006 and has since been screened internationally.
, 2013-2014/15, marks the summation of the Foundation's support for opera in the UK, and the finale of its charitable activities. The Foundation will close down in April 2014.